WASHINGTON, D.C. – Nineteen teen leaders from across Illinois were chosen to represent Illinois 4-H at the Ignite by 4-H Summit held March 9-12 in Washington D.C.
Teens experienced four days of inspiring and engaging panels, respected speakers, workshop sessions, and entertainment. The event was previously held as four different summits, but this was the inaugural year as a “super” summit, combining STEM, agriscience, healthy living, and emotional wellbeing interest tracks.
Youth were able to form connections with fellow state delegates as well as new national connections.
“It was the first time many of them had met one another, and it did not take long for them to connect with one another,” says Susan Sloop, University of Illinois Extension 4-H youth development specialist and event chaperone.
Youth explored exciting career paths and created an actionable plan to help create real change in in their communities. The high-impact programming included speakers featuring national experts and leaders, with opportunities to hone their leadership skills while building connections with teens from across the country.
Teens from across the US were chosen for this inaugural event, including the Illinois delegation of:
Agriscience: Matthias Hacker, Coles County; Ariah Washington, Cook County; Karime Beltran Gutierrez, Cook County; Akayla Wells, Cook County; Noelani Harris, Cook County; Kimberlee Serano, Cook County; Guari Venkatraman, DuPage County; Roland Stetz, DuPage County
STEM: Amari Chisholm, Cook County; Natalie Otto, Woodford County; Ojas Shah, McLean County; Gabriel Cervantes, Clark County
Healthy Living: Jordon Gully, St. Clair County; Jarvis Spearman, St. Clair County; Justin Gergen, DuPage County; Brooklyn Benson, St. Clair County; Emma Hughes, Montgomery County; Alana Dolan, Vermilion County; and Avani Rai, McLean County
“By going to the Ignite Summit, the Illinois 4-H delegation was able to listen to keynote speakers, session speakers, and Youth in Action award winners that inspired them to go back to Illinois and step out into leadership, says chaperone and 4-H youth development educator Kelly Lafferty. "The youth were challenged to come up with an action plan for their state on a variety of topics that would promote a positive change for youth. Several youth showed growth by stepping out of their comfort zone and meeting new people and talking about ideas they have for promoting change in their counties and state. This amazing group of youth were a fine example of Making the Best, Better and represented Illinois in a positive light, and I’m looking forward to the amazing things they are going to do this upcoming year.”
About Illinois 4-H: Illinois 4-H is the flagship youth development program of University of Illinois Extension and administered through the College of Agriculture, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences. 4-H grows true leaders, youth who are empowered for life today and prepared for a career tomorrow. The hands-on approach in 4-H gives young people guidance, tools, and encouragement, and then puts them in the driver’s seat to make great things happen. Independent research confirms the unparalleled impact of the 4-H experience, demonstrating that young people are four times more likely to contribute to their communities, two times more likely to make healthier choices, two times more likely to be civically active, and two times more likely to participate in STEM programs.
About Extension: Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.
Source: Susan Sloop, University of Illinois Extension Youth Development Educator, firstname.lastname@example.org
News Writer: Carissa Nelson, 4-H Media Communications Manager, University of Illinois Extension, email@example.com
Illinois Extension leads public outreach for University of Illinois by translating research into action plans that allow Illinois families, businesses, and community leaders to solve problems, make informed decisions, and adapt to changes and opportunities.